Compared to other big cities around the US, Jacksonville is a little lacking in the variety of its cuisine but, when taking into account its Southern context, there is still a surprising number of ethnic restaurants.
I love trying different foods from all around the world (particularly at cozy little "hole-in-the-walls") and Pisco's Peruvian Restaurant had been on my list for quite some time because a) I pass it on Southside at least once a week and b) we're taking a trip to Peru this fall so I wanted to know what to expect culinarily. Despite the lack of one of Peru's most popular dishes, guinea pig (I'll have to wait until September), Pisco's has a huge menu for such a small place and if it's anywhere near as good as the massive chicken dish we shared then multiple repeat visits are in order.
To start everything of we were given a small bowl of what looked like enlarged Corn Nuts. I was told these interesting little morsels were dry roasted corn kernels. The innards of the kernels had become a powdery corn-meal type substance that was both flavorful and desiccating, slightly resembling a mild powdered cheese in both taste and texture. I ordered a bottle of Cristal, a Peruvian beer, both to sample the flavor of the brew and also to be able to say: "I drank a bottle of Cristal last night."
For our entree (I'm glad we shared, as usual, since the portion was enormous) we got a delicious chicken dish with tomatoes, onions, rice, and a side of fried yuca (or cassava, not to be confused with yucca). I have observed a phenomenon where a dish will often taste great at first but somewhere during the meal the more unpleasant flavors become dominant and finishing is a struggle. This was certainly not the case with our chicken which was good to the last scrape. The fried yuca was a very nice alternative to potato fries; starchier with a creamier flavor.
To top it off, the waitress was incredibly and genuinely nice and welcoming to us Gringos so the small tab left ample room for a well deserved tip. Just one trip so far but this place has solidified itself as one of our favorite restaurants in Jacksonville and we can't wait for the next visit. Highly recommended.
4131 Southside Blvd
Jacksonville, FL 32216